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The first 200 words of this essay...
Atmospheric stability is very important to the change of climate because it controls precipitation. When air is stable, precipitation would not occur. When air is unstable, condensation and precipitation would occur. When air is conditionally stable, condensation and precipitation may or may not occur. To understand atmospheric stability, we must first understand the importance of lapse rate.
There are three types of lapse rate, they are the environmental lapse rate, the dry adiabatic lapse rate and the wet adiabatic lapse rate. Temperature drops with altitude at an average rate of 6.4C/1000m. This average value is known as the environmental temperature lapse rate. This is the observed temperature distribution with height under stable cloudless atmospheric conditions at a given time and place. It is variable both in time, height, different types of air mass, and space and bears no relation to air parcels rising or falling.
Adiabatic means that there is no heat exchange or flux between an air bubble and its surroundings. Adiabatic temperature change is the change in temperature due to expansion/compression as an air parcel rises/descends. The rate at which temperature decreases in a rising, expanding air parcel is called the adiabatic lapse rate.
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